I post about my daughters drug addiction on TikTok – its good to open up

Mum Brandi Mac has courageously decided to share her journey as a parent of an adult child struggling with a drug addiction.

With a TikTok following of more than 271,000, 41-year-old Brandi, from Florida, US, says that insights from people in recovery have been more enlightening than any book.

For that reason, she's decided to open up on her daughter's addiction as she shared their story.

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She commented: "In December of 2019, I learnt my then 20-year-old daughter, Brooke, was not only a recreational drug user but also engaged in IV drug use, abusing crack, crystal meth, opioids, and amphetamines.

"Despite my background as a nurse in the Intensive Therapy Unit, I quickly realised just how little I knew about drug addiction from a personal perspective."

While Brandi, who became pregnant at 17, had known her daughter used drugs recreationally, it wasn't until 2019 that she learned about the IV drug use.

Brandi added: "My child was nine months postpartum, living in Florida, while I was in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. Every three months, I would visit her and my grandson. During my last visit I noticed a change in her mood; she seemed increasingly irritable.

"She eventually confided in my mum about her and her partner's use of intravenous fentanyl. My mum then reached out and told me. I never pressured my child to explain 'why.' She may not even know herself. However, I recently learned that when she was 13 or 14, she had found some old opioids in my medicine cabinet from dental work I had forgotten about. That was her first experience with opioids."

In middle school, Brandi discovered her daughter had been self-harming. She grew increasingly concerned that the situation might escalate to something as serious as suicide. During high school, her daughter's lying became more frequent, and she started sneaking out at night, eventually experimenting with drugs during her sophomore year.

She even admitted to using methamphetamine, which deeply alarmed Brandi. To add to the complexity, her daughter had been diagnosed with depression and PTSD.

In 2016, Brandi moved with her child to Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. "One of the main reasons was that the medical insurance and mental health services were far better than what we had in Florida," she admitted. "This move allowed us to provide her with a drug counsellor, psychologist, and psychiatrist. However, once my child turned 18, as a parent, there wasn't much I could do. After high school, she wanted to move back to Florida and live with my mum."

Searching for an outlet and aiming to raise awareness, Brandi turned to TikTok. She began sharing her experiences as a mother grappling with her child's addiction. The platform opened her eyes to the issue's magnitude, connecting her with countless others facing similar challenges.

The stories shared and the advice offered by the recovery community became invaluable, far surpassing what she'd learned from conventional resources.

She said: "As my online presence grew, so did my understanding. Did you know that in 2022, reported deaths from overdoses reached almost 110,000? And those are just the reported numbers. Relapse rates remain alarmingly high, as 40% to 60% of individuals undergoing drug addiction treatment experience a relapse."

Brandi shared that her daughter sought help from seven different treatment centres in just three and a half years. While suboxone offered her the most extended period of respite, relapses persist.

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Today, Brandi's daughter is still struggling with addiction, and the responsibility of raising her grandson falls upon Brandi. The journey, she admits, is far from easy. "Initially, there's a lot of hope, especially when you see them sober up. But repeated relapses can wear you down.

"It's not so much about losing hope but dealing with the repeated heartbreaks that come with each setback. The shame, the guilt, the blame… what could I have done differently? The phone anxiety! I still panic every time an unknown number calls me. It's like dealing with ambiguous grief, grieving someone who is still alive."

Through her TikTok platform, Brandi emphasises the need to eliminate the stigma surrounding addiction. She's not out to shame anyone but to create a positive and understanding space. To foster a dialogue and make the topic more accessible, Brandi often invites questions from those curious or in similar situations.

She concluded: "I've never been so disgusted by an industry as I am when it comes to addiction treatment. There is a huge lack of ethics, and the profit-over-patient mentality is out of hand.

"By providing a real, unfiltered look into my own life as a mum of a child with substance use disorder, I hope to foster understanding and build a supportive community for those affected."

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Talk To Frank for free, confidential advice on 0300 1236600, texting 82111 or visiting their website, www.talktofrank.com

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